Royal Life Saving Australia recently launched its latest water safety campaign which urges all Australians, but particularly males aged between 25-45, to ‘Make the Right Call’ and look after their mates and each other when around inland waterways.
Royal Life Saving’s ‘Make the Right Call’ campaign highlights a common-sense approach and advocates simple safety tips to prevent drowning:
- Avoid alcohol around water.
- Wear a lifejacket when boating or using watercraft.
- Avoid swimming or recreating alone.
Research carried out by Royal Life Saving Australia showed that inland waterways accounted for nearly 40 per cent of all drowning deaths in Australia over the past 10 years.
Of these deaths, over 80 per cent were male, most of them occurred in the summer months (41 per cent) and 32 per cent involved alcohol.
The research puts this down to risk-taking behaviours involving poor-decision making, such as alcohol consumption and not wearing a lifejacket while recreating on water, as well as swimming alone.
LSV’s Principal Research Associate Dr Bernadette Matthews says the Victorian drowning statistics show similar trends, with 80 cent of Victorian drowning deaths in the 2018/19 financial year involving males, with many aged between 25 and 44.
Drowning deaths involving alcohol or drugs represented 20 percent of Victorian drownings.
LSV’s 2018-19 Drowning Report showed that typical activities prior to drowning include swimming and unintentional entry into water such as slips, trips and falls.
“In many cases, people who have been drinking make poor decisions about entering the water or they unintentionally slip or fall in,” says Dr Mathews.
“Alcohol not only affects your judgement of situations, but also your ability to respond and react.”
Around the water, this means you are more likely to fall and less likely to be able to get yourself out of trouble. Statistics show that over the last decade one in three people who drowned were not intending to be in the water, they slipped or fell in.
Dr Matthews said it’s important to drink responsibly around water and swim with a friend where possible.
“Alcohol affects your swimming ability and judgement of dangerous situations. It’s important to look out for your mates around water, and always have a designated non-drinker who can look out for your safety and respond in case of an emergency,” she says. “Don’t let your mates drink and drown.’’
For more information about the campaign and for tips about how to be safe around waterways visit: https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/maketherightcall